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Apple’s Privacy Feature Costing Ad Companies Millions

Privacy continues to suck on the web. Luckily browser makers have finally started to take the user’s interests to heart. From The Guardian via MacStories: No tracking, no revenue: Apple’s privacy feature costs ad companies millions:

Internet advertising firms are losing hundreds of millions of dollars following the introduction of a new privacy feature from Apple that prevents users from being tracked around the web. Advertising technology firm Criteo, one of the largest in the industry, says that the Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) feature for Safari, which holds 15% of the global browser market, is likely to cut its 2018 revenue by more than a fifth compared to projections made before ITP was announced.

I don’t have any sympathy for an industry that’s gotten tremendously rich off trying to track people on the web, whether they want it or not. It’s not like they learned their lesson when Apple first released ITP – they just tried to figure out a way around it:

Initially, many advertisers believed they had found a technological way around some of the restrictions put in place by ITP. Criteo, which took advantage of that loophole, had initially expected revenue to drop by only 9-13%, the company said. But in December, Apple closed that work-around on its mobile devices as part of the iOS 11.2 update, causing the ad-tech firm to update its projected impact to its current estimate of 22% “relative to our pre-ITP base case projections”.

A Modest Proposal

If you follow this link to my business site, I should be allowed to:

  • Know how many people visited my site via that link.
  • See what pages are popular over time on my site and using my own data on Lemon Productions extrapolate that people who come from ChrisEnns.com tend to visit these kinds of pages on Lemon Productions.
  • See how long people tend to stay on a given page on my site.

What I should not be allowed to do is then track that person when they leave my site. And then show that person ads on other sites based on the pages they visited on my site.

It’d be like going into Canadian Tire, talking to a sales person about a car battery, and then as you’re leaving the sales person slips a chip in your pocket so they can track you as you head over to Best Buy and while you’re looking at a new TV there, Canadian Tire is able to show an ad for a car battery on the TV you’re in front of. Which is going to start happening soon enough anyway.

Can’t we just go back to trying to write/create great stuff that attracts readers/watchers/listeners because it’s great and not because they were coerced, manipulated, and badgered to visit?